Trio head back to school for special visit to Westoe Crown
South Shields players Blair Adams, Daniel Wright and Ursene Mouanda went back to school on Monday as they launched a new programme which will see the club engage more with its youngest supporters.
The trio were joined by SSFC Foundation manager Steve Camm as they visited Westoe Crown Primary School to answer questions from pupils and hand out tickets for Saturday’s game against Mickleover Sports at Mariners Park.
They also presented the school with a signed home shirt which will either be put on display at Westoe Crown or be auctioned to raise school funds.
This was the club’s first school visit and was a particularly poignant one, as avid Shields supporter Jak Fada – who tragically died a year ago at the age of 10 – attended Westoe Crown.
About 180 Year 5 and Year 6 pupils talked with the players for almost an hour as they asked a wide range of questions.
Blair said: “There were some interesting questions and some you really had to think about.
“We covered all areas, from what we’d want to do if we weren’t footballers to the best teams we’ve played against.
“It’s always good to go into places like that and for the children to be able to speak with us.
“We want to try to build our fanbase.
“We all know the targets the club has over the next few years.
“We want to keep pushing up the leagues, and coming in to see the children is the start of us trying to grow our fanbase.”
Each Year 5 and Year 6 pupil at the school received a free ticket for Saturday’s match against Mickleover, as well as one for a parent or guardian.
They have all been invited to take part in the club’s Matchday Play Park, which takes place on the 3G pitch at 1.30pm on the day of each Saturday home game, while 10 of them will walk onto the pitch with the teams ahead of the match and five of them will take part in a literacy project with The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, based on their matchday experience.
Daniel Wright said: “We came along to hand out tickets and talk to the pupils, because it would be great to have a lot more younger people at the games.
“Hopefully it will boost our crowds on Saturdays.
“There were some funny questions which got you thinking and we all really enjoyed it.
“It’s important we get more and more younger fans at the games, because it will build our crowds massively.”
Ursene said: “We came in to have a little talk to the children and try to encourage them to come along to our games.
“I really enjoyed it.
“A lot of the kids were quite sharp and funny, and there were some very good questions.
“I’ve not been in a primary school since I left, so it was good to go back to one and it brought back a lot of memories.
“It’s really important we put on a good performance on Saturday so the children have a good experience and want to come back week after week.”
The club’s second school visit will see them go to St Bede’s RC Primary and Nursery School on Wednesday.
Picture caption: Players Ursene Mouanda, Daniel Wright and Blair Adams present a signed South Shields shirt to Westoe Crown football team captains Jay Brown and Lillie Oliphant, along with PE co-ordinator and Year 6 teacher Kate Bramley.